Strategy’s 2017 Nice List: Part 1

Our editorial staff take a look at the creative work deserving of some extra recognition.


As the end of the year rolls around, the editorial staff at strategy and Media in Canada are looking back at the creative work that might not be darlings on the awards circuit – yet – but are still deserving of recognition. Check back tomorrow for part 2.

IKEA, “Beautiful Possibilities”

Rethink’s first big effort as IKEA Canada’s agency of record was nothing if not ambitious. The “Beautiful Possibilities” platform tackled inclusivity and equality, lofty and complex subjects that Canadians take a great deal of pride in. There’s no voiceover or dialogue, just music communicating “what a wonderful world” we live in when everyone is treated with equity and respect. That is, until the end, where a very small selection of IKEA products (and their prices) are revealed to have been in the background for all of these beautiful life moments.

However, the hero spot that launched “Beautiful Possibilities” was bogged down, to a degree, by the high standard it set for itself. The furniture retailer tried to craft a connection to everything from Canada’s influx of refugees to young same-sex couples to elder care to public breastfeeding. But where the platform really begun to shine is when it tightened its focus. Cut-downs that focus entirely on individual moments briefly shown in the launch spot gives them time to breathe and resonate. And the brand’s holiday spot showed the concept does work in a longer format – if that time is spent focusing on one impactful story, instead of several. IKEA was already looking to take more of a delicate touch when it created the platform by not putting its products front and centre, but it’s been the later iterations that have shown how artful and powerful the platform can be if it shows the same restraint in the subjects it chooses to cover.

Josh Kolm

Dr. Pepper, “Too Similar? Too Unique!”

I’m a sucker for performances. I like it when an ad is obviously well cast and directors are able to let their actors simply do their thing. Canada Dry Mott’s October campaign “Too Similar? Too Unique!” for Dr Pepper nailed the casting of its confident-yet-nerdy protagonist(s). The actor’s natural charm comes right through, and the small touch of “I am” at the very end makes the gag work far more naturalistically than most would. Humour is a combination of writing plus performance. This ad, created by DentsuBos, had both, and executed it quickly and effectively. Simple and memorable.

Jeromy Lloyd

Toronto Transit Commission, “#ThisIsWhere”

TTC2The Toronto Transit Commission took a risk with its recent safety campaign. The transit agency’s “#ThisIsWhere” campaign highlighted real stories of people who have experienced harassment and intimidation on the TTC.

Stories of sexual harassment, ableist threats and homophobic insults were posted right in the TTC’s vehicles. The sobering campaign, led by Publicis, was prompted by an increase in harassment complaints over the last three years, and a belief that many incidents go unreported.

The goal of the campaign? Encourage people to say something through the new SafeTTC app, which is included in the creative for the campaign.

While the campaign was a bold move — potentially making the TTC feel unsafe or upsetting customers — in the current climate where victims are finally starting to call attention to all the harassment experienced in everyday life, it feels necessary to call attention to the trauma one can experience on their ride home from work.

Bree Rody-Mantha

The Goods, “The Goods Package Design”

thegoodsI am overly swayed by packaging. For a lot of categories, I buy things based largely on graphic design, using it as a litmus test of product quality – and as more retail happens online, it’s often all you have to go by.

Now that even dubious quality brands have upped their design game, the new threshold is functional design. Anyone can pick on-trend colors and fonts, but the thoughtfulness of the design elements is less easy to emulate – and to get right.

That’s why the packaging approach for The Goods, a Toronto restaurant/food retailer, is so brilliant. The labeling system is a series of food-hued colour bands that ID each ingredient in the concoctions (soups, salads, juices), with the width of the stripes showing the relative proportion of each ingredient.

I came across it during the Marketing Awards Design jury meeting this year, where it scored a Bronze, and wondered why more food packaging isn’t done this way. For anyone puzzling over mice type lists of ingredients, and wondering how big the ratio of beets to carrots might be, this is genius. Credit goes to designer Petra Cushieri and design director Mooren Bofill at John St. under the creative direction of Niall Kelly and ECDs Angus Tucker and Stephen Jurisic.

Mary Maddever